January 2010 Archives

Apple sums up its iPad add-ons

Eric Doyle | 2 Comments
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keyboard_dock.jpgPrices for Apple's add-ons for the iPad are starting to appear. These will be supplemented with other third-party products nearer the slate's release date.

The basic unit comes without a physical keyboard. If you want to type anything in, rather than peck at the on-screen keyboard, you'll have to spend an extra $69 (£43) for a Keyboard Dock. The unit holds the iPad upright, recharges the unit, provides an audio output socket and replicates the Apple connector socket thatit uses on the iPad to allow other add-ons to be used simultaneously.

These add-ons include the Camera Connection Kit ($29) which appears to comprise two memory card readers. There is also a VGA (not HDMI) connector for an external monitor ($29) but sound output will have to be taken from the headphone socket on the iPad or just using the inbuilt speakers.

A few reviewers have pointed out that the problem with slates is that their screens are vulnerable to damage as they are carried around. Apple's answer is an inexpensive case ($39) that will also hold the iPad upright or slope it to make it easier to type on the virtual keyboard. No doubt, third parties will appear with cases that also accommodate the Keyboard Dock and cable accessories.

ipad cases.jpg

I was wrong, the iPad is sheer genius

Eric Doyle | 5 Comments
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Sometimes old people get an idea fixed in their heads. I'm an old person and guilty of being swayed by pundits who were expecting Apple to produce a slate version of an iMac. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

People like myself have been missing the point about Apple's iPad. It is vot it is, darlings - an entertainment device with a big screen. It really is an iPod Touch on steroids.

The omission of a camera has been criticised but that's not important. Who would want to wave an iPad around to take pictures? Why would you want to make phone calls on a Nintendo Wii, take pictures on a Sony Playstation or type your novel on a Microsoft Xbox 360?

iPad.jpgAlthough the iPad is primarily an eBook reader with music and video players built-in, it shares many similarities to a games machine. If a Wii can do anything other than play games, it usually means forking out for a bit of hardware and nobody complains. Apple's haunted picture frame comes without a physical keyboard. So what? If you want to type anything in, rather than peck at the on-screen keyboard, you can spend an extra $69 for a Keyboard Dock. The unit holds the iPad upright, recharges the unit, provides an audio output socket and replicates the Apple connector socket it uses on the iPad to allow other add-ons to be used simultaneously.

If you want a camera, you'll have to wait for a third-party add-on which will stand separate from the iPad, possibly neatly linked by Wi-Fi. Yes, you can play games on it or do some limited business tasks using the current iPhone library or the dedicated iPad apps that are yet to appear.

I'm particularly annoyed with my inflexible thought proceses because I've long been a believer that the future computer is the thin client. I mean that in the sense of a client using browser interfaces linked to remote number crunchers in a data centre elsewhere on the planet. Maybe a future version of the iPad will deliver handwriting recognition and come with a keyboard dock, or a BlueTooth keyboard, and be able to output data to a memory card or USB disk. Maybe the current model could be powerful and flexible enough to deliver this with third-party help.

I've always envied Steve Jobs' ability to deliver functional, innovative and eye-appealing products. I do hope he continues to recover from his current illness because he is Apple and the company would lose its spark without him - just as Microsoft seems to have lost its spark without Gates' daily involvement. 

Video: Apple iPad predicted back in 2007!!

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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The iPad has taken some time to come to fruition but MadTV predicted Apple's tablet release a few years ago!

Watch the video below, hilarious!

Thanks to @LeilaMakki

Three Things I liked about the iPad

Karl Hodge | No Comments
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I woke up this morning to an inbox full of iPad this and iPad that, an RSS Reader with ten squillion new iPad entries and Twitter all a tweet about the new and neat little tablet. 

Of course, I watched the announcement live. That's my job. First impressions?  The iPad looks niiiiiiicce.  Yeah - it is a big iPhone. But a nice big iPhone, about half an inch thick, with a 10 inch display and weighing a bit less than a bag of sugar.

I wouldn't go as far as Faisal down there and tell you to buy one right now. Nor is Apple's device the transparent failure that Eric seems to be suggesting (I don't know what forums he hangs out on, but so far the fanboys are loving the iPad). We are, after all, all autonomous individuals with our own tastes and desires. Some of us like caviar. Some of us prefer chips.  And no one in the UK - including us - has so much as been in the same room as an iPad. Not yet, anyway.

Here, in reverse order of awesomeness are some of the things that pricked my ears as the interminable announcement was made:

* iBooks. The part of the presentation focussed on apps went on forever. Blah blah Google Maps, blah blah iTunes... Until iBooks popped up. Poor Amazon. iBooks enables iPad users to pick from 4 million electronic titles and have 'em delivered direct to the iPad. It looks powerful too, with user configured fonts and page turning animation.  Want.

* The iPad is powered by a 1Ghz Apple A4 CPU.  Not Atom. Not an Intel Core processor. An Apple chip. Mac heads more observant than I have pointed out that Apple acquired PA Semi, a processor developer, in 2008. It raises questions about Apple's long term plans if they've finally gotten into the CPU production business though. More to the point - how did this not leak? 

* The price. This is the bit that had seasoned tech journos typing words on Twitter you can't reproduce on a family blog. The iPad will come in a range of configurations with different storage capacity - like the iPod. You can choose from 16GB, 32GB or 64GB models, with or without 3G. The bottom of the range, WiFi only, 16GB model has been priced at $499.  That's about £310.  Sharp intake of breath. Factor in VAT and a bit more just for being British - we're guessing the iPad will be available from about £380 over here when they ship in March.  That's pretty damned affordable.  I may well be skipping the similarly priced Kindle DX altogether. I mean - £380 for a tablet as powerful as any netbook, with built in magazine and book software vs a monochrome eBook reader? Bit of a no-brainer, really. Unless, of course, you have no brains.

So - the Apple iPad.  Looks like a very cool bit of kit. However, as I said yesterday, Apple is only one computer manufacturer among many bringing tablets out in 2010. We can't wait to see how the market reacts to this. The Mac maker has matched its usual, stylish design and desirable specs with a very competitive price point. And, as they did with the iPod before it, they've created a device with extraordinarily broad appeal. 

It's going to be a very interesting year.

iPad - more Kindle than Tablet

Eric Doyle | 5 Comments
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My first take on the Apple's iPad is that it is an iPhone gone large (without the phone - oh yes, that's an iPod Touch then) which is a disappointment. If only it had gone the extra few steps to include digital ink and allow handwriting on the screen, it would have been better. Instead we have an e-reader with mini-apps.

What else is wrong. No multitasking, no camera to allow videconferencing, no SD card slot, no USB. If you want USB or SD it will be possible but these will have to be bought separately, and used separately, through the 30-pin connector - so there'll be a lot of swapping and chopping back and forth if you want to use the keyboard as well.

If you want 3G connectivity it will cost an extra £100 and forget any idea of sharing your phone SIM with the iPad. It uses micro SIMs and these are rare gems at the moment. Still, in the UK, we do have until June to sort that out. Although the iPad will be here in April, the need to find telcoms with micro SIMs may delay the launch of iPad 3G further.

Is this an iFlop? Certainly the high hopes pre-launch have been dashed somewhat. A quick scan of the forums will not be comforting news for Apple. An iPod Touch for the hard of thinking seems to be the theme out there. Apple boss Steve Jobs claimed that it bridges the gap between iPhone and netbook but is there a gap? He also says it shows Web sites as they are meant to be seen but this is only true if you live in the Java-free, Adobe-free world of Apple. At best it's overblown hyperbole at worst it may be a lie.

One thing about running iPhone apps that Jobs didn't address was whether you can use apps you've already purchased on your iPhone and iPad. I'll take that as a no, then. 

Jobs says the iPad is "magical". I say "tragical".

Buy the Apple iPad - video

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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ipad.jpgApple have finally unveiled the iPad. It has a 9.7 inch capacitive touchscreen, runs a 1GHz chip, has a 10 hour battery life, is half an inch thick and weighs just 1.5 pounds. You'll be able to buy 16GB, 32GB or 64GB sizes.

My headline might be confusing, but let me help you understand why you should buy the Apple iPad.

It'll be able to run iPhone apps but has cutom-made apps specifically for the iPad. As of today developers will be able to develop apps on the updated iPhone OS SDK from today. The built-in iPad apps, iPhoto and iTunes, are more like Mac programs than iPhone apps which shows just how good this little tablet is.

It has a large touchscreen keyboard and the interface is very similar to teh iPhone which is something many will be happy with. It's also got some built-in location services that lets the Map app auto-locate, and the iTunes store is built-in for previewing and buying media.

As I said before the iPad can run iPhone apps but you can also zoom in on the apps to make them appear full screen.

Steve Jobs says that the user experience of browsing online with the iPad is far better than on an iPhone or a Mac as it has a large touchscreen that you can manipulate.

There's More to Tablets than Apple

Karl Hodge | No Comments
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Today is widely thought to be the day that Apple announces its iTablet/iSlate/iPad.  My Twitter feed is full of gibbering grown-ups bleating about it. Granted, it's a disproportionate bleating as my Twitter feed is largely composed of tech journalists, but - do you know what? Their informed and expertly expressed excitement is actually making me less excited. 

Whoopie doo. Apple are going to release an over-sized iPhone. Quick, wake up the Queen.

When I was at school, there were three kinds of music fan. (No! Don't stop reading! I'm going somewhere with this). There were the girly pop fans who were into Duran Duran and Culture Club. There was a coterie of macho metal fans, into Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. And then there was my group. The raincoat wearing, hair bear bunch of A-level art mopers. We liked whatever the other lot didn't like.

 Echo and the Bunnymen were cool for a bit - and then Echo and the Bunnymen released "Ocean Rain" and got famous. So we stopped liking them. We loved The Cult for a while. That is, until "She Sells Sanctuary" went top ten. Then we burned our records in the playground and shaved off our Mohawks.

In short, whenever something got popular, it was yesterday's news.  Underneath the snotty, snobby kneejerk was a kernel of logic. You see, once something has become popular - that's it. It's set in stone. 

The Bunnymen did all their best, most innovative work on their first three albums. And then came "The Killing Moon" and massive stardom. After that point, everything they did had to sound the same - had to fit that template of popularity. Being successful stopped them from being innovative.

And that's how I feel now about the iPhone.  Apple's handset is massively popular, but - by definition - it can no longer lead innovation. It can only change incrementally - because to change too much risks breaking what made the device popular in the first place.

I love Macs and Apple. I even write for a Mac magazine. And I've played with enough iPhones to appreciate that they are superior gadgets. Lousy phones, mind you, but great little PDAs. I'm not having one though. I'm not paying fifty quid a month for the privilege of being exactly like every other drone with the same phone - especially when there are so many other great devices on the market. The Palm Pre, the Motorola Droid and the HTC Nexus One.

And, so, to the iTablet/iSlate/iPad. It's an iPhone you can't fit in your pocket - if rumours are to be believed. I'm sure that it will, indeed, be a great tablet -  but, cool your jets, tech world. It's just one device. There are many more to come this year. 


We have Chrome OS netbooks to look forward to and Windows tablets on the horizon. We'll have a dedicated European Kindle and, my personal favourite, the Skiff e-Reader - a flexible tablet that's the closest thing to a true magazine replacement technology we've seen.

Give the little guys a chance too. This Apple frenzy is all a little, well, fannish.

Apple to Slash iTunes TV Prices?

Karl Hodge | No Comments
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The Financial Times has reported that Apple are pushing American TV execs to cut the cost of TV show downloads.  We say, it's about bloomin' time.

Whether this is tied to the impending, never-ending, maybe-it-probably-will-be-announced-tomorrow iPad/iTablet/iSlate, we don't know. We really don't. And neither does anyone else who's reporting that, OMG, it must be related. Because, seriously... there's as much logic in that as there is in the average episode of Torchwood .  

Sure, a portable screen might enable you to sneak a couple of episodes of Supernatural in on the 12.10 from Kings Cross to Edinburgh but, quite frankly, so does any laptop with a built in DVD drive or a copy of VLC on it. And how many folks do you ever see doing that, huh? Huh?

I rest my case.

No, it's far more likely that Apple have just, like, noticed that they're now the most expensive video rental service going in this nascent market.  iPlayer, 4OD and the other ones no one uses are doling out TV programmes for free. American TV streaming site Hulu's all set for a European launch at some point in the future and services like Blinkbox have movie and TV rentals starting at 99p a time. Heck. Even Blockbuster is cheaper.

Do you know how much it currently costs to watch one episode of Desperate Houswives on iTunes? £2.49. TWO POUNDS AND FORTY NINE PENCE. I wouldn't watch it for free.

Anyway... the figures being bandied around are a 50% reduction of the current prices - meaning we might actually see shows on iTunes for a pound a pop. By our reckoning, that's the sweet spot for TV downloads. The new and final series of Lost, for example - coming soon to Sky One. How much potential revenue is being lost (no pun intended) to dish-free file-sharers reluctant to pay £2.49 a time for yet another hour of made-up-on-the-spot, time-travel nonsense. A quid though? Bring on the smoke monster.

If Apple have the stones to go for it, this price restructure may well change the way we watch TV.

Samsung's Portal offers a reality check

Eric Doyle | 1 Comment
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Samsung's latest Android phone comes fitted with an augmented reality (AR) browser for which different overlays will be made available depending on the user's location or interests.

Galaxy Portal i5700.jpgThe Galaxy Portal i5700 uses the Layar (ironically pronounced "liar" in Mediterranean countries) AR browser platform which has a rapidly-growing number of applications available. Samsung, for example, has a Football Pub Finder to show which match a pub is showing simply by pointing the phone camera at the building (alternatively, you could read the real chalk boards and banners outside).

Other AR applications available through Layar.com includes the Beatles Tour (of London) which highlights places related to the Fab Four such as the Abbey Road studios where they recorded many of their hits. Once at the location, the user can see the group, looking rather pixelated, superimposed on the iconic zebra crossing outside the studios and even photograph the scene with their friends posing with the band.

The phone is based on Android 1.5 displayed on a 3.2in HVGA screen backed by 180MB of onboard memory and 1GB of SD card memory (expandable to 32GB). Apart from Layar the supplied software includes Facebook and MySpace as well as the usual Google Android apps. The Portal's multimedia support comprises a 3.2Mpixel camera, DivX video player and MP3 player.

Until mid-February, the Galaxy Portal is available exclusively from T-Mobile after which only the black version will be available from the telcom on an exclusive basis for a further two months. Contracts for the i5700 start at £23 per month for 18 months, with no upfront charge for the smartphone.

abbey road reality.jpg

Lotus Notes importance of Android

Eric Doyle | 1 Comment
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IBM Lotus is supporting Android phones with its email and collaboration software Notes. The company announced at the Lotusphere 2010 conference in Orlando, Florida, that it would initially support the Nexus One phone from Google.

NexusOne1.jpgLotus Notes Traveler for Android will appear in the second half of this year, the company announced. This will give business users of Notes' push emails and two-way access to calendars and contacts. With the recent announcement of wider access for RIM BlackBerry and Nokia phones to social networking extensions of the Lotus environment, quite how wide-scoping the Android software will be is open to speculation. Perhaps we'll be hearing about extensions to the iPhone Traveler software announced last September.

Although the Nexus phone was named at the announcement, it was pointed out that the Traveler package will run with Android 2.0 and 2.1 which implies that the software will run with other makes of compliant smartphones.

Lotus also announced an addition to the iPhone Traveler service which adds encryption to the email system to secure messages from prying eyes. The increasing use of remote wiping of data from stolen phones still leaves a window of opportunity for thieves before the theft is detected, reported and acted upon. This must be a point of concern for businesses and 2010 will probably see an increase in security add-ons in the mobile market.

Apple to switch to Bing on iPhone?

Karl Hodge | No Comments
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Did you hear that sound? It was the high frequency squeal of a dozen Google execs after they just heard the news: Apple's iPhone could be switching to Bing according to a report in BusinessWeek

This is one of those deals that looks small, but could be worth lots to Microsoft's new search engine.  Launched just six months ago, the revamped tool boasts a host of new features - many of them similar to the kind of sterling work that lesser known search outfit Ask.com have been doing for a donkey's yonk.

Though Bing has doubled the market share it's predecessor Live Search enjoyed from around 4% to around 8%, it's still in 3rd place  - way behind Google which attracts 70% of all searches. Stats show Bing's extra hits have been stolen from Yahoo!, the number 2 search engine, rather than the big G

But, if Bing was the default search engine on the iPhone, that would be a double whammy.  Microsoft would see a big hike in ad revenue (to Google's detriment). More importantly, it would help win iPhone users over to the Bing side. And there are lots of them.  At least 18 million worldwide, according to a recent AdMob survey.

As with all rumours, take this one with a pinch of your favourite condiment. One thing's for certain - dominance of the IT space is no longer a two horse race. Rivalry between Apple, Google and Microsoft is likely to be a big feature of the 2010s.

Lara Croft raids the Guinness record books

Eric Doyle | No Comments
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Lara Croft, heroine of the Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider games, has bust her way into the new Guinness World Record 2010 Gamers' Edition. She will be running away with six records when the book is released today.

angelina-jolie-lara-croft-tomb-raider (233 x 250).jpgIf there was a record for the most records held, she'd probably win that one as well. Her pert tit-les comprise Most Successful Video Game Heroine, Most Recognisable Female Character In A Video Game, and Most Detailed Video Game Character. While the series of games wins Highest Grossing Computer Game Spin-Off, Most Successful Live-Action Transfer and Most Official Real-Life Stand-Ins In A Video Game.

Some of the details of the records may be open to dispute but the decision of Guinness Gaming Editor Gaz Deaves is final. He said, "Lara Croft epitomizes all that's great about video gaming and we're delighted to acknowledge her success by awarding her with six  official record entries including making her the most-famous and most-successful female video game character in the world."

Evidently, she has been portrayed by 10 different models since 1996, not counting the number of wannabes on Internet social networking sites, porn sites and the like. Most notably, of course, she was twice brought to life by pouting Angelina Jolie on the big screen.  

Lending an ear to the Asus NX90

Eric Doyle | No Comments
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Danish high-end hi-fi specialist Bang & Olufsen and Asus look as though they could be a force to be reckoned with. The resulting multimedia laptop is the NX90 with B&O ICEpower sound.

The laptop looks expensive which is just as well because it will be expensive at around £2,000. A mirror-smooth aluminium lid and wrist rest set against a matt black keboard matches the signature B&O styling for its home entertainment systems. I only hope that Asus provides a polishing cloth as part of the pack because polished aluminium soon show up fingerprints and other smudges. When the laptop goes on sale in spring, it will also be available in matt black and will look no less impressive because the size of the unit demands your attention.

The keyboard is interesting because there are two trackpads integrated on either side of the keys, rather than in the middle of the wrist rest. An interesting development because I found that the cursor could be moved by using my little finger (or pinkie, to our American readers) without moving my hand away from the keyboard. It's also a nice gesture to those of us with the sinister tendency to favour our left hand rather than right.

ASUS_NX90_notebook_01.JPGThe main part of any multimedia computer is the screen and the speakers. In the past, the audio side has been sadly neglected with tinny sounds accompanying impressive images. The size of the NX90 is governed by the 18.4in wide format screen and additional speakers that run to the height of the screen on either side. This is a big notebook that demands a new genre name of deskbook and is designed to grace a table. The speakers actually overhang the edges of the keyboard to allow greater depth to the enclosures to improve the sound quality.

The Nvidia GeForce GT335M driving the screen will allow HD playback of movies and is backed by 4GB of computer memory epandable to 12GB. There is the option of a Blu-ray drive but as yet accurate pricing has yet to be finalised.

The speakers and the ICEpower module provide excellent sound but I'm an old hi-fi geek and I would have liked something to give me a bass response to rattles my bones. This apart, the quality is way above anything I've heard from a portable system.

The NX90 is designed for a niche market of demanding, rich, multimedia, hi-fi fans who don't mind spending a bit more for an impressive piece of functional furniture. 

Asus flies in its CES showcase

Eric Doyle | No Comments
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On their way back from the CES show in Las Vegas, the Asus top brass popped into the UK today to show off the 2010 inventory of mouth-watering products and give us a chance to inspect a gadget or two at close quarters.

The shiny highlight was the NX90 laptop which combines Asus style with high end Bang & Olufsen sound quality. Next in line was the Eee PC Seashell 1008P with styling by New York designer Karim Rashid and the dual core 1005P with 14 hours of battery life. The overall message from company chairman Jonney Shih is that the company will continue to push ahead with sexing-up the design of its laptop but he assures us that this will not be at the cost of pushing the boundaries of the technical aspects, such as processor speeds and battery life.
What did not appear at CES was the Asus dual-screen e-Reader. According to the company, the hold up is puerely the organisational problem of finding suitable suppliers for the software and transport services. If any e-reader is going to be of benefit to the user, it has to have a source library that can offer a wide selection of books and documents and their has to be a means by which these materials can be downloaded.
By the sounds of it, Asus is aiming to provide a standalone unit that can connect to a telcom company's  wireless network to allow the user to access the library from anywhere at anytime without the need for a laptop as an intermediary.
CES saw the launch of several readers which means that Asus will have to get its skates on to avoid being swamped by the competition. We look towards the CeBIT show in Hannover for further news. 

What is a Gadget? Pt 1: Throwaway Technology

Karl Hodge | No Comments
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Three days ago, I switched on my main work PC and heard one long beep followed by three shorter ones. The machine booted but the display was blank. Checking a list of BIOS error codes on the global internets, I confirmed my first diagnosis: the video card was fried.

Curiously, I remembered the point it happened. I woke in the night hearing a "phhhzzzt" noise, followed by silence.  Utter, complete silence. At first I thought the extreme weather in the frozen North had finally brought the proto-apocalypse. The power lines were iced up, the generators were down, the roads were impassible. I would get up in the morning to see an old lady greedily chewing the hind leg of a stray dog in the car park.

But, no, it was just a power surge and the sound of silence was the absence of cooling fans. The temporary death of my PC.

Which got me thinking about the nature of gadgets - and what actually constitutes one.  With my three year old PC, I was able to order a new video card on t'internet. It arrived in two days despite the winter climes and was installed in two shakes of a lap dancer's tassles. It's back to being the centre of my office network, despite its age and relative decreptitude.

But, here's the rub, if I had woken to find my iPod's display fried or my HTC Diamond's sound system silent - there would have been nothing I could do. Out of warranty, uninsured, they would be nothing be rather expensive paperweights.

So - one of the key signifiers of gadget-hood is disposability. Built in obsolescence. 

This observation isn't new. Like many proper geeks I took things apart as a lad: toasters, tape recorders, old televisions...And like most proper geeks I soon learned how to put them back together.  That is, until I opened up my first Sony Walkman. I gained access to the inner workings easily enough - four screws and a few plastic tabs to unlock - and then it exploded. The components were spring-loaded; designed to self destruct. My brother, whose player it was, was so unhappy he gave me a Chinese burn and put HP sauce in my tea. At least, that's what he said it was.


Over the last week, as CES has revealed another 6 months worth of innovation and invention, I've been cooing and billing with the best of them over dual screen tablets, slates and e-readers.  But the turnover of such gadgets is so highly accelerated that few of these devices will be considered valuable or current come CES 2012. Or even 2011.

Is disposability all that desirable? What waste this tendency generates, as we cast one example of old technology after the other into the landfill, 18 months after it was first loved, then liked, then loathed, then lost.

I don't think it is. But I'm just as complicit in the perpetuation of this cycle as the next tech blogger, the next gadget journalist, pointing the spotlight at the next shiny new thing before the old one in your pocket has even lost its polish.

More importantly, what do you think?

What's so great about the slate?

Eric Doyle | No Comments
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There's so much rubbish being tossed around about the "new" slates based on Microsoft's Tablet PC standard. There is nothing new about the slate design but so many people are hailing it as a new paradigm. At the original launch of Tablet PCs back in 2002, there were five models from RM, Acer, Fujitsu-Siemens, Toshiba and HP Compaq. Only two were swivel laptops and three were slates (OK, the HP had a detachable keyboard but it was more slate than laptop).

launch tablets.jpg

Newton iPhone (250 x 258).jpg

Prior to Microsoft giving the impression they invented the genre, Grid Computer had been producing slates for a decade, Fujitsu Siemens and the Compaq Concerto in the 90s. Notably, Apple's Newton had appeared in 1993, although it was classed as a PDA at that time. Even so, Apple's original plan had included a larger, even more slate-like version.

When the Tablet PC arrived, users voted with their fingers and chose the format that allowed them to type on a conventional keyboard rather than an on-screen keyboard or a simple slide-out keyboard. The lack of truly pen-based software wasthe main reason why slates remained in vertical markets, such as healthcare, and never really spanned the horizontal.

Another problem was that handwriting recognition was not reliable enough for text conversion. I remember upsetting Apple when I suggested the Newton could be the basis of a parlour game. Hand write a word, convert it to text and get the party guests to guess what the original word might have been. The first iteration of the misnamed Windows XP Tablet Edition (Tablet Extensions is more accurate) was better. Impressive though the recognition was it was untrainable and whenever I wrote, for example, "this is a VoIP technology", my tablet insisted on translating this as "this is a Void technology" which could have led to a court case but my tablet didn't care.

Windows 7 is much better, says Microsoft. Handwriting recognition is better and it has multitouch capabilities. I've not had a chance to try this but even if Microsoft is not gilding the lily it has to recruit software developers to the cause. I have no doubt that many will include touch screen selection of features and some, probably Adobe, will add image resizing to photo-based applications and graphics but really I don't think the situation has changed. I look to Apple for innovation but I still agree with Steve Jobs when he said, "Real computers have keyboards."

This may not always be the case but more innovation is needed. There are always ambiguities when a handwritten document is converted to text. When I write something in longhand even I have trouble sometimes reading it back. Currently, the computer usually arrays an ambiguous word with a pick list of options and the correct word is either chosen by the user or re-entered by pen or keyboard. It would be quicker if speech recognition was available so the user could say the word.

Slates may seem sexy but I feel most users will be happy with a touch-sensitive smartphone and a laptop. In the meantime I await Apple's possible announcement on January 27, in spring, later this year or whenever it suits them - if it suits them.

* Newton image licenced from blakespot

Apple iSlate tablet - hard to swallow

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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3817840201_e4c8b5c589_m.jpgIt's insane that there has been so much coverage of a product that doesn't exist but that's mainly due to the fact that no-one wants to be left behind and Apple absolutely love the rumour mill.

How does it work? Well it's mainly all those Apple-maniacs who are so desperate for any Apple product. The market (and site traffic) dictates, there is a frantic need and so journalism tries to feed.

For Apple, the marketing machine is great news. Late December saw Apple's stock value surge because of teh rumours and continue to do so well into January.

By the time they release it, supposedly at the Apple event on the 26th of January, their stock value will be through the roof!

3485786410_6b9eb66b4b_o.jpgPatent picture from nDevilTV on flickr

So, back to the gadget in question, it looks like the fabled Apple netbook is going to be called the iSlate.

Apple own the rights to various website addresses using that name and they hold the registration.

Most people were well aware of what the iPhone was going to be called long before it was released and it seems it's the same case for the tablet.

It's an unfortunate name for Sawf Londoners and I hope we don't see it on Eastenders any time soon. Let's see what happen on the 26th.

Rumour round-up:

Here's the supposed spec.

Specs picture from myuibe on flickr

Video: Dell's Slate tablet rivals HP and iSlate

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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dell-slate-promo.jpgDell's 5 inch slate looks set to continue the company's foray into the mobile computing market following the Dell Mini 3i.

The 'slate' is larger than a smartphone but than a tablet with a 5 inch touchscreen tablet.

It will run on Google's Android, has a removable battery, SIM card slot and built-in camera but there aren't any other specs so far.

The Slate was unveiled at CES where Michael Tatelman, vice president of sales and marketing in Dell's global consumer group, said they were experimenting with different sizes.

I'm not sure what is the perfect size for a slate, it seems you want it as small as a smartphone but big enough to browse the web. Maybe there isn't a perfect size, I'm sure Apple will tell us when they figure it out.

Video via Electricpig

Video: Plastic Logic QUE proReader - for business

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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The Plastic Logic QUE proReader comes with 8.5 x 11 inch touchscreen. It can also let the user drag and drop Microsoft Office documents and other business files the PC to the e-reader.

This should be released in the US for around $799 and includes 3G connectivity, 8GB of storage, Wi-Fi, USB, and Bluetooth.

It's aimed at the businessperson of course due to the drag-and-drop feature of Office docs but also with apps linked to Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

Plastic Logic say:

Transfer your documents to your QUE
Don't print it, QUE it. Save paper, ink, and money by putting your documents on your QUE instead of printing them.

Designed for more than good looks, QUE provides instant access to the content busy professionals need at their fingertips all day long - all their content anywhere any time. QUE supports reading and annotating document formats business users need (including PDF, Microsoft Office¹ documents including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, as well as ePub documents and more). With the QUE software, it's easy to quickly transfer content from your PC, Mac® computer, or Blackberry® to your QUE. The standard 4GB QUE model can hold up to 35,000 documents or the equivalent of up to 35 filing cabinets worth of documents. If your paper-laden briefcase and file cabinets are bulging at the seams, the 8GB model holds up to 75,000 documents or the equivalent of the contents of up to 75 filing cabinets

Video: LG GW990 Linux-based smartphone

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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The LG GW990 was unveiled yesterday during Intel's keynote. It's a 'mobile internet device' that is basically halfway between a smartphone and a netbook.

It can do this because it is based on the Intel Moorestown platform. The Linux-based Moblin 2.1 operating system with the Moorestown platform provides the user interface. LG have always given a good user experience and the GW990 looks to continue that tradition.

The device itself has a 4.8-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1024 x 480 pixels. LG really like big screens such as their Chocolate and this allows the device to display web content without the need for scrolling.

Video: Microsoft confirm Xmas 2010 for Project Natal

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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Quick post to say that Microsoft have confirmed that we won't see Project Natal until Christmas 2010. That's a long, long, long time and that's all they said.

If you want to torture yourself then watch the video below.

Video: ID cards with 3D holographic images

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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ID cards have been in the news a lot lately with the public firmly divided as to whether they are useful or not.

But Smasung have come up with a truly jaw-dropping card that has an OLED display that shows a 3D head image of yorself when touched against an RFID reader.

See the video below for a better idea.

Video from engadget

Prehistoric Tablet Pics

Karl Hodge | 1 Comment
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My link to Eric's old post on the Microsoft Tablet from 2002 prompted Computer Weekly reader Andy Taylor, who is web master at www.retrocomputers.eu to get in touch.

"This is my OLD tablet," he tweeted.


It's a GRiDPad 1910 manufactured for GRiD Systems Corporation by Samsung in the early 90s.  With 2MB of RAM and a standard 20MB HD, the tablet has a stylus based input system, a 640 x 480 monochrome display and it runs DOS.

Producing computing solutions for military applications, GRiD were serial innovators in the early days of portable computing. It's widely assumed that the GRiD Compass computer - released in 1982 - was the worlds first clamshell style laptop.

Does anyone out there know of an even older tablet PC?

Video: Sony Dash internet tablet / alarm clock

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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Sony have released the Dash, a new 'tablet'. Well sort of, I see it as a modern alarm clock, people are calling it a tablet and Sony are call it a 'personal internet viewer'.

The Sony dash has a 7-inch touchscreen, works on the Chumby OS (with over a thousand apps) and integrated stereo speakers. It's online so it can do video/radio streaming as well as, well other internet stuff.

It has WiFi, a USB port, accelerometer, alarm clock, Facebook, Youtube plus a whole host of other features. It works on an AC outlet ONLY, you can't make it mobile with batteries which is a bit strange and restricting.

I really like the Dash but at $199 I'm not sure why I'd get it. I'd prefer to get a netbook or tablet for a little more. If it was cheaper then it'd replace my alarm clock but otherwise it's just a cool think to put on your desk.

The Sony Dash will go on sale in April, priced at $199.

Video: MSI dual screen netbook (it's not an eReader)

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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We've seen some iterations of dual screen laptops but MSI have made the first dualscreen netbook that actually looks worth buying.

Officially, MSI are calling this an eReader but I find that confusing as it does so much more. It's really a netbook with and Atom Z series processor and runs on Windows 7. The screens are 10-inches and it's got a lovely metal case.

As you can see from the video and pictures, the MSI has a touchscreen keyboard (with haptic feedback) and the two screens worked in unison which is really the wow factor.

This should go on sale some time this year and if I were MSI, I'd get it out as soon as possible.

Pictures from nDevilTV on flickr

Video from engadget

Video: Samsung's 14 inch transparent screen laptop - AMAZING

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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Samsung have unveiled the world's first ever transparent OLED screen. It sits on a 14-inch notebook and is just a prototype but it's so impressive.

When it's off, the screen is 40% transparent.

Yo can see straight through it when nothing is displayed, then suddenly things appear on screen and it's not transparent anymore.

I know what you're thinking 'what's the point?'. Well, there isn't one really but some things are just good because they're cool. This rocks!

Source: engadget

Video: HP touchscreen Slate - somewhere between a phone and a laptop

Faisal Alani | No Comments
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Steve Ballmer unveiled the HP Slate device at CES and it's got the whole industry salivating.

It's a Windows 7 touch device that is "more powerful than a phone and almost as powerful as a PC. Perfect for reading, surfing the web and taking entertainment on the go" according to Ballmer.

It will be available later this year and was shown running the PC Kindle app.

It's multitouch and can plays games. The video shows it in movie mode, ebook mode and PC mode.


Source: engadget and nDevilTV on flickr

Microsoft vs Apple: Keep Taking the Tablets

Karl Hodge | No Comments
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Some Mac fans seem to think that Microsoft's CES announcement of an HP built tablet PC is tattyfilarious; some kind of last minute spoiler designed to upset the Apple cart that is the rumoured iSlate/iTablet/iWhatever.

For example, Apple analyst Andy Ihnatko had this to tweet:


But why the surprise? Microsoft have been in the tablet PC business for a loooong time - as can be seen in this 2002 tablet PC report from Inspect-a-Gadget's own Eric Doyle. On top of that, Microsoft's commitment to the tablet format goes back to Windows XP which had it's own tablet specific edition. And, hello? Windows 7 multi-touch? Heck - MS even had its own round of tablet rumour swirlage last year, with persistent expectation that Ballmer's CES appearance would be used to unveil the Microsoft Courier, a dual screen device first mooted in September last year. 

This seems to have all been forgotten - as though Apple now owns the copyright on the very idea of a PC that looks like a big iPhone. Which, I suppose, it sort of does. But, tablet PCs have been around for much, much longer. Have none of these people seen Star Trek? Of course they have. They're nerds.

Meanwhile, at the time of writing, Apple has kept a tight lid on its plans to issue a tablet device - refusing to comment either way on the stack of rumours piling up around its slate strategy. And all there have actually been are rumours. Rumours that will most likely come true, of course...

Personally? I'm looking forward to an Apple tablet announcement as much as the next gibbering geek. I think the first half of the 10s (as I will now lovingly call this new decade) will be dominated by high-end tablets, followed swiftly by a slew of mid-range, Atom powered web slates for, you know, ordinary people.  Apple will have a part to play in this - but that's all. A part.

Let the games begin.

And - have a look above my post to see Faisal's first report on the specs of the HP Slate.

Review: Sony F Series - Huge screen, nice lappy

Faisal Alani | 11 Comments
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The first thing you'll notice about the F series is the amazing 16.4 inch HD screen, complete with anti-glare, well that's what the top of the range model lower models have full HD 1920x1080 resolution.

This is a beast of a machine as it comes with a quad-core Intel® CoreTM i7 processors (Quad Core, 8 Threads), a Blu-ray disc writer, plus 8GB of DDR3 main memory which should be able to handle heavy video editing.

Sony F Series VAIO - lower res.jpg
It's also got a NVIDIA GeForce GT330M graphics - combined with 1GB of GDDR3 VRAM with CUDA - mean the VAIO F Series delivers detail-packed graphics and smooth HD video playback.

The F Series is also energy efficient, with the Sony light sensor (automatically adjusts screen illumination levels). There's also a nice 'Display Off' button that cuts consumption when you're listening to music or watching Blu-ray movies on a connected television.

My only negative point is that as with all Sony laptops this will cost a bomb. If you want powerful and stylish and money isn't an issue when you're buying a laptop then this is definately one to consider, especially for gaming and video editing.

But if you're an average joe then you can probably find similar spec for half the price.

The new range of VAIO F Series multimedia computers is available in stores from 18th January 2010. It comes with Windows 7 Home Premium software.





Intel® Core™ i7-720QM


Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium




500GB Serial ATA


VAIO Display Premium

41.6cm (16.4") Full HD (1920 x 1080)

Anti-glare 100% Adobe RGB coverage


NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M


Optical drive

Blu-ray Disc™ Writer


Weight & size

3.2kg (with supplied battery);

263 x 31-41 x 387.2 mm (D x H x W)


WLAN 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth®;
Display Off button; premium black finish

Video: Sony Bloggie camera rivals the Flip, Nano and Zi8

Faisal Alani | 6 Comments
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PM5 - Bloggie - 7 - lowres.jpgThe last time I got excited about a video camera it was the Zi8 but the Bloggie blows it out of the water. Sony are traditionally brilliant at cameras ands camcorders and the Bloggie is the new prodigy that does everything and so much more.

The Sony Bloggie PM5 and CM5 can record both 1280x720/60p video and high resolution Full HD 1920x1080/30p clips. They also have SteadyShot image stabilisation that cuts camera shake when you're shooting handheld, and Face Detection fine-tunes camera settings for clear, captivating portraits.

They PM5 comes in four colours, features a rotating lens that swivels 270 degrees. It has a  bright, high resolution 6.0cm LCD screen that shows camera settings in the bottom half of the display while you're recording. A nice feature is that you can turn the bloggie horizontally and view in landscape format which is a nice touch.

The PM5K also includes a special 360 Video lens adaptor that lets you record panoramic videos, something that'll get anyone excited.

Rivals and market

The Flip came out a few years ago and many, including yours truly, were sceptical about how successful it would be due to the fact that you can capture video on your phone. Safe to say I was wrong and the Flip boomed.

Apple decided to try and get a share of the market by adding video capture to their Nano range (See my review: Video: Nano video reviewed - 3 reasons why it sucks). Drawbacks of the Nano are that it doesn't have still capture and no HD BUT it is an add-on to a fantastic Nano.

Kodak followed and their latest offering, the Zi8, has HD still camera capture and a mic input. It's definately the best on the market but Sony's Bloggie looks like it might overtake it.

Key technical specifications:

Model Name



Image Sensor

7.13mm(1/2.5 Type)
CMOS Sensor

7.13mm(1/2.5 Type)
CMOS Sensor

Gross Pixels



Still Image Recording




Sony Lens

Sony Lens

Optical Zoom



Image Stabilization

(720/30p, VGA mode only)

(720/30p, VGA mode only)

Recording Media

Internal Memory (26MB),
Memory Stick PRO Duo (Mark2)

Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo

SD/SDHC Memory Card

Internal Memory (26MB),
Memory Stick PRO Duo (Mark2)

Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo

SD/SDHC Memory Card

Video Format

MPEG4 AVC/H.264 (MP4)

MPEG4 AVC/H.264 (MP4)

Video Resolution

1920 x 1080 / 30p (16:9)
1280 x 720 / 60p (16:9)
1280 x 720 / 30p (16:9)
640 x 480 / 30p (4:3)

1920 x 1080 / 30p (16:9)
1280 x 720 / 60p (16:9)
1280 x 720 / 30p (16:9)
640 x 480 / 30p (4:3)

LCD Panel Size

6.0mm / 230K

6.2mm / 230K

Face Detection



Slide Show Mode




Multi AV Composite
USB (built-in plug)

Multi AV Composite
USB (built-in plug)

USB Charge



Built-in Software

PMB Portable

PMB Portable


w/o battery: 110g,
with battery: 130g

w/o battery: 175g,
 with battery: 196g


19.0 x 108.0 x 54.0 mm

39.0 x 101.4 x 67.1 mm

Supplied Battery



CES deals its 2010 hand at Las Vegas

Eric Doyle | No Comments
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ces-logo (250 x 158).jpgCES, the first IT show of the year, officially kicks off today in Las Vegas. Anyone who's anybody will be there.

When I say it starts today, it actually started yesterday evening at a special keynote presentation by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO. 

Big Steve in his bright red jumper actually had very little to talk about - but that doesn't stop this juggernaut. When it comes to a task that is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, Ballmer's definitely your man. The heat of Las Vegas and the jumper also contibutes to this.

I remember the days when opening keynotes were 99% inspirational. A prominent industry figure would try to paint a picture of where technology was going. Bill Gates changed all that by subverting the genre into a marketing platform that laid out Microsoft's immediate plans. Ballmer has continued in the same vein but Microsoft seems to have less to say these days.

As if to reflect the dull hour to follow, even the electricity supply refused to turn up on time, delaying the start by almost 25 minutes. A blackout was followed by lights coming on and going off as the assembled crowd shifted restlessly in their seats.

When Ballmer did get going he spent the first half hour bigging up Microsoft's achievements through 2009. The launch of Windows 7 and how it is "empowering" people, how wonderful Zune is, what a great mobile OS Windows Mobile 6.5 is and how Office is continuing to drive businesses to greater achievements. In short (or. more accurately, in long), a 30 minute ad for Microsoft products topped off with how Bing is being adopted as Hewlett Packard's default PC search engine, sorry Google does search Microsoft makes "decision" engines.

Ballmer bragged that sales of PCs jumped 50% on the release of Windows 7. What he didn't theorise about was that this is because of the number of people who have delayed buying a new PC for some time because they didn't want it to be crocked by Windows Vista.

Ad over we now get into more interesting territory. A demo of Blio, a free eBook reader targeting the blossoming business for Amazon's Kindle. Surely such a piece of software will need a new kind of computer? Along comes slate PCs from HP, Pegatron and Archos, an updated version of the Tablet PC unsuccessfully launched by Microsoft eight years ago.

natal (250 x 153).jpg
The only thing of note came after an hour of spiel. A big push for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live allowed a segue into Natural User Interfaces (NUIs). Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, promises that the Natal interface will be available for the current Xbox in summer. Natal is a camera-based interface that allows a user to wave their limbs around to control on-screen games and applications. Kind of a Wii Remote unplugged performance.

It's almost become traditional for Microsoft to kick off the show but I move that we make a change next year and get Google or Apple up on the first night - someone a bit more relevant to moving the ITC world along,

Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 expires

Eric Doyle | 1 Comment
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The UK will not be seeing Sony Ericsson's Xperia X2. The deal with Vodafone for exclusive rights has fallen through and SE doesn't appear to be planning any other deals. The phone will be available in other countries.

This is quite a blow for the company because the X2 was planned to be a high end competitor for Apple's iPhone but targeted at the corporate market using Windows Mobile 6.5. The official excuse is that Vodafone says "it no longer fits within their planned portfolio" but rumours of software problems have been floating around.

This will leave SE's X10, based on Google Android, as the top model in the UK market when it becomes available in February and must be seen as a blow for Microsoft and it's WM 6.5.

Will this make SE think twice before developing another Windows-based phone? If it can't release a phone aimed at multinational companies across the globe, it will miss out on businesses that want to standardise on one model. In any case it is unlikely we'll see another Windows-based phone until Windows Mobile 7 is released.

Google's Nexus One - the Evolution of Android

Karl Hodge | No Comments
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Yesterday's big gadget news was, of course, the announcement of the (closest thing to a) Google Phone - the HTC-built Nexus One at CES. To listen to the mainstream media, you'd think this was Christmas all over again - the birth of the Baby Jesus in phone form.  And from what we can tell it is indeed a great device. Whether it can turn water into wine remains to be seen.

One thing that does need a bit of mopping up; not every gee-whizz feature of the Nexus One is brand new. Some of the stuff demoed at CES is part of Android 2.1 - and was part of Android 2.0. Some of the features that mainstream reviewers have touted as exclusive to the Nexus One have actually been available for a couple of months on other handsets - notably the Motorola Droid (dubbed the Milestone in the UK).

Take, for example Google Maps Navigation, complete with voice control. That's an Android app - not an exclusive, built in part of the Nexus One. And there are now over 20 Android phones on the market, spread across different providers.

According to reports, Google Vice President Mario Queiroz described the handset as the "Next stage in the evolution of the Android". Note - he didn't say "the next stage in the evolution of the smartphone".

Google are cleverer than that. The iPhone currently has the lion's, tiger's and leopard's share of the smartphone market, but it does so with one device. Android, on the other hand is an OS for smartphones plural. Venture Capitalist Bill Gurley suggests that Google are seeking to be the Microsoft of the phone world, making Android the Windows of mobile devices. Gurley further suggests that will leave Apple as, well, the Apple of the smartphone market... exclusive, expensive and constrained by its stubborn refusal to separate operating system and hardware.

In a sense, that makes the Nexus One a trojan horse - a branding exercise for Android disguised as a phone launch. A very good branding exercise, nevertheless.

As for the Nexus One itself? The HTC built device looks great. There's something of the iPhone about it - there's no denying that. The same could be said of the HTC Magic though and the Nexus One's design combines the Magic's sleek styling with the HTC Hero's discreet control system. It could well result in a tactile experience superior to Apple's offering.

I say "could" because I haven't had the privilege of fondling it with my own mitts yet, but Engadget's unboxing combined with my own use of HTC handsets in the past suggests this is a device to covet.

It's coming to Vodafone in the UK within the next few weeks - though the device is unlikely to be tied to one carrier in future. One of the Inspect-A-Gadget team will no doubt post a hands-on review as soon as it's humanly possible.

In the meantime, you can take a 3D Flash tour of the handset over at Google.

Review: Hands On with the Motorola DEXT

Karl Hodge | 3 Comments
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1977_30_Motorola-Dext-263-35-Sim-free.jpgHello Motorola, I said, unwrapping the PR package - because I am that indoctrinated, that brain-mushed, I frequently talk to myself using catch-phrases from adverts. Simples.

The Motorola DEXT (called the Cliq in the United States of the Americas) is the company's other hot phone of the late noughties. You know, the one that isn't the Motorola Milestone? That by the way, was called the Droid everywhere else but Blighty.

It's as though whoever's in charge of Motorola's branding outside the US is one of those guys. You know who I mean. He's some big cheese in regional, who waits until the end of the discussion and then laconically sticks his hand up. "Actually, I disagree," he says, just when you thought you'd sorted out the office coffee rota.

Here's Orange's official demo of the Motorola DEXT:

So - the DEXT. I played with it a bit before Christmas came along and snowed me in, stomach distended with brassicas and brandy.  Here's what I liked:

The brilliant, beautiful keyboard. Seriously. Some folks have said that it wasn't to their taste - but stacked next to the Blackberry's cramped collection of keys or any virtual keyboard, it wins big. It slides out from behind the handset, which looks very iPhoney in form and and size when closed. When opened, it's more like a mini netbook. A teeny, tiny web wonder. The keys are ergonomically moulded so your fingers easily find the right characters - instead of the one next to it. Or the three next to it.  So far, so ace.

This is a phone you can imagine doing business with. It was Motorola's first Android handset, so you have the benefit of Google's growing App store and easy installation. And the phone itself comes with a dedicated headphone socket as well as mini-USB for folks who like to use their handsets as MP3 players. Or, to stream Spotify.

On the whole, then, I was favourably disposed towards the DEXT, which was easy to set-up and use. I mean, what's not to like about such a powerful little gadget. With 1GB onboard storage, 256MB RAM and a CPU running at 528 Mhz, the DEXT is significantly faster and stronger than the first Motorola powered home computer I bought; an Atari ST. That was back in 1985 though... And it was the size and weight of four house bricks.

The DEXT fits nicely in the palm, when not in extended keyboardy mode. It feels like a phone, not a PDA with a voice bolt-on. So, welcome to the 21st Century, astronauts.

Still - and perhaps this is personal - I'm not overly keen on Motorola's UI, "Motoblur". It's part of a growing trend among 3G phone manufacturers and service providers, showcased too in the recently released Vodafone H1 360 ( a Samsung handset), to candy coat the underlying features of VERY POWERFUL PHONES with a cartoon layer of social media connectivity.

The idea is that your handset is a gateway to social media services - Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and some that your service provider bolts on - so that you can be umbilically connected to everyone in your address book, 24/7.

"I just ate cheese!" bleeps Chris's status update. You know it's him because you can see his avatar battling for screen estate with a bunch of others and you know he said it because there's a little speech bubble coming out of his beardy hipster gob. It's all so... tiresome.

There are markets that suck this kind of stuff up (I'm looking at you Japan). Not me. I want a phone that makes calls, runs apps, does a bit of video and music. And, fortunately, the DEXT does all those things brilliantly well. Better than many of it's smartphone rivals. If I didn't have to send it back, I would have just set my home page to show the weather and forgotten all about the tedious social networking features.

But I did have to send it back, sadly, reluctantly. Goodbye Motorola DEXT.

The Motorola DEXT is available exclusively from Orange with Pay Monthly plans starting at £30 a month.

Here's the science bit, grabbed from Motorola's DEXT fact sheets:

Motorola DEXT™ with MOTOBLUR™

Talk and Standby Time for GSM4

360 minutes/6 hours of continuous talk time, and standby of 325 hours/13.5 days

Form Factor

QWERTY side Slider, Full Touch


WCDMA 900/1700/2100, GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 7.2 Mbps (Category 7/8), EDGE Class 12, GPRS Class 12, GPS


Android 1.5


163.00 g; 5.7 oz


58 x 114 x 15.6 mm; 2.28 x 4.49 x 0.61 in


Android HTML Webkit

Email Types

POP3/IMAP embedded (including Macmail, Gmail, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL1), Push Email


1420 mAh


Bluetooth3 1.5, 3.5mm, USB 2.0 HS, Over the Air Sync (OTA); Wi Fi


320 x 480 pixels (w x h), 187 DPI


MMS, SMS, Email (POP3/IMAP embedded, Push Email) IM (Embedded) Open Source


AAC, AAC+, AAC+ Enhanced, AMR NB, MIDI, MP3, WAV


Playback - H.264, H.263, MPEG at 24fps at HVGA resolution; Capture - H.263, MPEG at 24fps at HVGA resolution


5 megapixel, auto-focus


Removable 2GB MicroSD card (included); Supports 32GB MicroSD (optional)

Location Services1

Integrated 5-way navigation, GPS, Turn by Turn directions, Google Maps with Street View , E-Compass


~103.15 cc; 6.32 inches


Internal / Antenna diversity (2 antennas to enhance reception)


802.11b, 802.11g

Address Book/Calendar1

MOTOBLUR aggregates Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Gmail, and syncs your work contacts, email and calendar


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